Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (-850) vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (+550), Draw (+2500)
The long-awaited fight between Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KO) and Julio Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KO) is finally happening. Scheduled for May 6 on Cinco de Mayo weekend, the showdown is set to be one of the biggest boxing events in Mexico’s history. The location has not been finalized yet, but it’s looking like it will be another Vegas fight. [Update: the fight will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.]
The two camps have been in discussion for years. At first, it was the younger Alvarez desperately seeking the fight, looking to make a name for himself. Now that Canelo has hit it big, Chavez is more hungry for the matchup.
The biggest issue for the fighters has been the size difference and finding an appropriate catchweight. At 6’1”, Chavez looms large over the 5’9” Alvarez. The two camps finally settled on a catchweight of 164.5 pounds, a compromise for both fighters. That’s 9.5 pounds heavier than Alvarez has ever fought at, and it’s also a challenge for Chavez, who has failed to make even the super middleweight cut of 168 pounds. If he misses weight this time, as he has been prone to do, it will him cost $1 million per pound.
Canelo is coming off two big wins in 2016 against Liam Smith and Amir Khan, defending the Ring and lineal middleweight titles, and claiming the WBO light middleweight title. He’s established himself as one of the most sought-after fighters in boxing right now, which has afforded him the opportunity to set the terms for his fights. Before his return to middleweight against Khan, he had fought his last five fights at the catchweight of 155 lbs.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s last fight, a ten-round unanimous decision win over Dominik Britsch, was his only fight of 2016. The Mexican star has had lengthy periods of inactivity throughout his career and has been dogged by weight issues. He had a tough loss to Andrzej Fonfara in 2015, where he requested his corner throw in the towel.
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions have done all they can to stack the deck in Canelo’s favor. He’s by far the more distinguished fighter and the terms set for the fight heavily favor him. Even though he’ll enter the ring the much smaller fighter, he’s a massive favorite for good reason.
Pick: Saul Alvarez (-850)
Photo credit: “Steve Franjic vs Wayne Tyler” by Martial Arts Nomad, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.